Riza Aziz, one of the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street, has been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
42-year-old Aziz, who is also the stepson of former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, was detained in Malaysia and released on bail.
Aziz’s production company, Red Granite Pictures Inc., has been accused of misappropriating money from a multi-billion dollar Malaysian government investment fund, the 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The fund was reportedly overseen by his stepfather, Razak, who has also been charged with corruption.
As reported by The New York Times, the Justice Department has accused Red Granite Pictures of using funds stolen from 1MDB to produce the films Dumb and Dumber To and Daddy’s Home, as well as The Wolf of Wall Street.
According to the charge sheets, the funds in question were transferred into Red Granite’s accounts in the US and Singapore, from the Swiss bank accounts of two companies linked to 1MDB.
Last year, Red Granite Pictures agreed to pay up $60 million to settle an assets seizure lawsuit filed by the Justice Department, with the US then returning the money to Malaysia.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has alleged Aziz handled $248 million of funds which had been stolen from 1MDB.
Aziz was arrested by the MACC on Thursday July 4. He was notified of the pending charges against him before being released on bail of $240,000.
Early in the morning of Friday July 5, Aziz appeared at Kuala Lumpur’s High Court with an eight-person defence team. The producer has pleaded not guilty to each of the five charges put against him.
Taking to Instagram, Aziz’s sister Nooryana Najwa made the following comments in support of her brother:
Today MACC decided to charge my brother. He has faced a civil lawsuit over the same subject matter in the US. As part of the settlement, Red Granite has paid a substantial amount to the DOJ.
But despite the settlement in the US and the fact that alleged wrong-doings occurred entirely outside of Malaysia, MACC decides to press charges after a whole year of leaving this case in cold storage.
He is not a criminal, he’s my brother.
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Today MACC decided to charge my brother. He has faced a civil lawsuit over the same subject matter in the US. As part of the settlement, Red Granite has paid a substantial amount to the DOJ. But despite the settlement in the US and the fact that alleged wrong-doings occurred entirely outside of Malaysia, MACC decides to press charges after a whole year of leaving this case in cold storage. He is not a criminal, he’s my brother. Pic taken before heading off this morning 📷 . #doublejeopardy #siblingsstandtogether
The Wolf of Wall Street producer has been charged with five counts of money laundering. If convicted, he could face a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine, or both, on each of the five counts.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.